Australia Day Races at Warwick Farm
Australia Day Races at Warwick Farm

Marway shows courage aplenty in Anzac Day win

Without doubt one of the most potent components which fuels the enthusiasm but sadly all too often unrealistic expectations of racehorse owners are that of dreams.

Regrettably, many dreams in horse racing which was founded on them are simply that – fantasy.

However, as the late Walt Disney - arguably the most successful dreamer of them all - once said: “All our dreams come true, if we have the courage to pursue them”.

That quote sits perfectly with Rockhampton owner-breeders Greg and Elaine Sturgiss and Springsure’s Paul and Barbara Wagner and indeed their dream did come true at Royal Randwick racecourse in Sydney on Anzac Day.

It was delivered courtesy of their beloved Mickey. I best explain as that life-long stable name belongs to the couples’ courageous racehorse Marway.

Marway was sent south from Rockhampton trainer John O’Sing to Randwick’s Mark Newnham last winter and last Sunday was the first time the close-knit CQ ownership group got to see him race again.

Wow didn’t Mickey, bred by Greg and Elaine Sturgiss from their stallion Hemingway and their mare Maredamah, put on some sort of show for them

As if scripted by the namesake of Marway’s old man Hemingway (IRE), the famous novelist, it was as if the horse just had to do his owners proud.

Marway did just that.

Bursting out of the barriers from the outside gate at the 1250m starting point on the Randwick Kensington track, Marway decimated the field in the early and middle stages to set up an eight-lengths lead.

Simultaneously up in Randwick viewing deck, Greg, Elaine, Paul and Barbara had lumps in their throats and their hearts were pumping just as fast as Mickey’s.

It’s a long run home, even on the inner Kensington track, but Marway with Josh Parr astride, gave his all with customary courage to fight on and claim a glorious victory.

It must have felt like an eternity for the Sturgisses and Wagners but, in fact, it was all over in 1min 12.12secs – a tick over 72secs – and a lifetime dream had come true.

The lumps in their throats had gone and been blasted away by wild screams of excitement and that fuzzy, almost europhic, inexplicable feeling that only winning owners are accustomed to.

It is said that the ladies Elaine and Barbara displayed tears of joy while Greg and Paul were like the girls “over the moon”.

A dream had indeed come true.

The excitement was contagious as trainer Newnham and jockey Parr, fine ambassadors for their professions, sported winning grins and displayed just as much excitement.

They knew all too well what a Royal Randwick win by Marway meant in front for their loyal and trusting CQ owners.

It was Marway’s third Sydney win from five starts for the Newnham stable but because of COVID restrictions and the like, the owners had to rely on SKY TV coverage back in their CQ lounge rooms.

It’s not the same.

What could replace the thrill of being on course at Royal Randwick Racecourse where the so-called “Sport of Kings” dates back to the infancy days of Australian racing there on the hallowed turf in 1833.

Marway has now won on 11 occasions – mainly at Callaghan Park Rockhampton before claiming three victories in Sydney, bringing his prize haul to $302,725

It seems Mickey, the son of an Irishman in Hemingway, is a quintessential Australian as his first Sydney win was on Australia Day, January 26, at Warwick Farm.

One thing is for certain, Marway appropriately fought like an Anzac, winning on that glorious occasion last Sunday, April 25.

Elaine and Greg Sturgiss certainly displayed faith and yes, courage, when on April 11, 2017, at the Capricornia Yearling Sales in Rockhampton they knocked back a $14K bid on their colt with a $15,000 reserve.

At the time, some onlookers probably thought they were dreaming in not accepting the $14K and there would have been a basis for that line of thought.

However, reiterating on what Walt Disney said: “All our dreams come true, if we have the courage to pursue them”.

The last word to Ernest Hemingway (1898-1961), who described courage (guts) as “grace under pressure”.

Exactly Ernest - that’s Marway and his owners.

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